Monetizing your Social Media Presence for Outdoor Photographers


Lesson Info

Networking 101

So, what I want to jump into is talk about the idea of networking. Because I think when it comes to social media, networking is a highly beneficial tool to help you connect with people in general, out there around the world. It's not just your followers, but it could also be individuals that could be related to business, or certainly revenue generation. So, from a photographer's standpoint, photography used to be this idea that it was just a single individual out there. Like it was a artistic median that was met with a lot of solitude, especially for outdoor and landscape photographers. Before social media, most of us would just go out by ourselves and shoot because most of our friends weren't interested in photography. Social media has helped allow us to create these senses of community where we have groups, such as Instagram groups around the world, and photography groups where people can kind of connect and engage with. I have a photography group on Facebook called Aspiring and Emer...

ging Photographers with Colby Brown, and we have thousands of photographers in there asking questions and engaging. And most people, like myself, never had that opportunity. And so, networking, from its core, is really about that idea of connection, of connecting with individuals. And so, why is networking important both from a professional, a personal, and a business standpoint? So, it's about relationship building. When it comes to social media in general, we're trying to engage with our audiences. The more we engage, the more the social platforms reward us with more engagement, more reach, helps us build relationships with clients. We have communications and conversations that helps builds trust and does all sorts of other things. But ultimately at its core, networking is about that idea of relationship building. It's helps you to know the right people. I think every industry is about networking, is about knowing who you need to talk to. It's not just that you have skills, or not just that you have a following, it's just that you know the right people to talk to, especially when it comes to the business side of things. You might have a great idea, but you don't know who to pitch it to. You might have a great product, but you don't know who to connect with. You might have a great personality, but you don't know where to find your following. So, networking helps give you that tool to find the right people to engage and connect with. It's cost-effective for marketing. So, networking gives you the ability to make sure that you are not spending money needlessly, trying to connect with people that aren't benefiting what your goals are. Regardless of what platform you are, regardless of what revenue generation opportunities you're trying to achieve, it could be beneficial, it could be helpful to be strategic in your use of networking to help you minimize the amount of extra money you have to spend, which you would typically spend in advertising and marketing. And it can lead to more work. Now, as I mentioned in terms of my revenues and the percentages that I make, photo education makes a good percentage, like I said, around 40% of a lot of the stuff that I do. But marketing generally makes about the same, in terms of the marketing campaigns I run, and a lot of the other products and services that I work with. And so, networking leading to more work, I've been able to use the idea of networking and connecting with the right people for the last 11 years, and I've become quite successful at it, which is why I'm really excited to talk about this specific segment. Because we're going to talk about that idea of how do you find the right people to connect with, or to talk to from a business standpoint, business to business communication, and what do we do once we've found that person? How do you send the cold e-mail? How do you reach out to someone for the first time and you have no connection? How do you pitch clients once you've made that connection and they're at least somewhat interested, or interested enough to at least hear more of what you have to say? So, we're going to talk about those things. So, this is a screenshot of a video that I've produced with a company called JPEGmini. And JPEGmini is a phenomenal company that does image compression. And they compress images from JPEGs to much smaller sizes and in doing so, there's no loss in image quality, which is why I've been interested in them for a while. And so, I use their product, I recommend you guys check them out if you're interested in them. But I'm not here to market them, I'm here to talk about the idea that I connected with them through my own network, my business to business network. And then came up with an idea ultimately, after developing that relationship, to pitch them an idea to send me and a film crew out to Iceland to produce a pretty awesome video that I did earlier last year. And ultimately, it was a huge marketing success. I was paid well, we got lots of views, last I checked, it's over 700,000 people has viewed it. And overall, that never would've came to be if I wasn't good at networking, if I wasn't able to connect with the right people. So, what is the most neglected aspect of networking? Is the idea that a lot of people, well it's twofold, it's in either back end of the conversation. So, it's either the first part, which, again, we're going to talk about the cold calling, the cold emailing, the cold connecting, which essentially means you haven't reached out before. But for most people, it's actually the ability to follow up. Now, for some people it's easy to network, like when you're meeting in a group and you're just connecting with people. But most people are really bad about reconnecting, completing that circle. And so, let's talk about that at first. So, recommendations for following up. This is the idea that essentially you are putting forth the effort to reconnect with people that you've already connected to or reach out to. And this is a huge moment and to be fair, this is something that I still struggle with, something that I still have to continue to work on and get better at. I've come across a number of photographers, and colleagues, and friends out there that do this much better than I do. And so, I have ways that I can improve as well. And essentially it's that idea that after making that connection, after having a business transaction, or making a friendly business engagement or relationship develop, that you're spending that time following back up. So, a couple of examples or ways that you can follow up with someone, or an excuse to follow up, recommendations for following up, is to create an index of names. So, this is something that I like to do. So, I create like business cards or I get business cards from people, and then I usually take a picture of them, and scan them into an index. And ultimately, I have this growing index of people that I can reach back out to. I can't tell you how many times that I've actually reached back out to either past clients or people that I've connected with in the past just to reconnect, and got job opportunities out of them because I simply made that extra effort to do so. And if I just tossed their card out, or had no way of kind of looking through and having an index of those individuals, I wouldn't have known who to contact, and been like, "Who's that person that works for that company? I had this idea. I can't remember who it was." I have all that stuff. So, keeping an index of the people that you come across from a business standpoint is huge. Highly recommend doing it. Create a calendar or schedule for follow ups. This can help remind people, like myself, that get super busy. So, what you do, or what I do when I get a new name in there for someone that I know that I want to come back to, is I set a reminder on a calendar. Sometimes I just do that with my phone where I can just dictate it, I press the button, and I'm like, "Hey Google, set me a reminder to connect with CreativeLive, January 15th." Put the order, put the thing in there, a pop up will show up on my calendar. A thing will pop up on the date that I have specified, gives me a nice reminder. I do that right when it kind of goes in. You can also set up a more strategic or more complex calendar to sit there and say, "Hey, set up different times to reach back out," 3, 6, 12 months down the road. Ultimately, the idea of reminding yourself, letting you have tools like calendars to remind yourself to connect back or reconnect with those that you've already established some sense of a base relationship with. Connect with past clients on social media. This can be helpful. This can be happen on, oftentimes, I see stuff on Facebook, so I'll be Facebook-connected with someone that I've worked with, with a marketing firm. And all of a sudden, I see that it's their birthday. Simple, right? It says, "Hey, so-and-so is turning 33 today," or "It's their birthday today." I'm going to send a quick note, "Hey man, I haven't talked to you a while. Happy birthday. Hope you're having a good time." Not talking about business, but it's just a reason to reconnect. And sometimes that reason to reconnect, he'll respond back and be like, "Hey man, I just got a new job working with Tourism Australia. We got some new projects coming up, let's set a time to talk." Would that have happened if I didn't just take advantage of a simple Facebook birthday reminder? Probably not. So, pay attention to birthdays, job anniversaries are great, LinkedIn does that more so than the other places. I'll log on to LinkedIn, and it'll be like, "Hey, so-and-so has been there for 10 years." Or job changes, that's even better. I'll be like, "Who's working where now? All right, this person that was working for this marketing firm is now working for that marketing firm, which means there's new clients. Congratulations on switching over to so-and-so. Sounds great, let's reconnect sometime, I've got some ideas." Most people don't go through that effort, most people don't take the time. Because of that, they aren't rewarded for the benefits of doing so. So, go the extra mile when possible, that's what I highly recommend. I highly recommend that you do more than other people are willing to do. The more reminders you have to be present in the people, in the business world that you've connected with, the more opportunities you are going to generate for yourself. I know of a photographer down in California that I worked with years ago. I still to this day get a holiday card from her every single time, every single year. And while we haven't done much since we've worked together in the past, I always think of her every time I get that card. And maybe one of these days, there will be an opportunity. And I'm still surprised every day when I do get that holiday card, but she's going that extra mile. And you guys can too. Now, you don't necessarily need to send holiday cards, or pictures of your family to everyone else out there, but figure out a means or a reason to reconnect. And don't always make it about business. People don't want to feel like they're being used. I don't, you don't, I'm sure, so reach out. I genuinely care about the people I work with, I want them to be happy. When they're happy, they're usually more willing to create jobs, or help, or work with me. So, I'm not doing it specifically just for revenue generation, I'm doing it because I like that human connection, because I want to connect, have that human interaction with those that I work with. The benefit that comes out of it is that they're reminded of our relationship. If they're not reminded of your relationship, they're going to offer a job to someone else because they might not be thinking about you guys. So, go that extra mile. Anyone that you've worked with in the past, set up a schedule. Three months after you've worked with a client, send them a note, ask them how they're doing, follow up with a marketing campaign, whatever it is. Highly recommend that you do it.

Class Description

Social Media is a powerful marketing tool, but how do you leverage yourself to gain the attention of new clients or potential sponsors? Colby Brown covers how you can find ways to monetize using various networking platforms. Whether you’re interested in finding clients, becoming a brand ambassador, or selling prints this class will give you the tools needed to make strides in getting your network to work for you. You’ll learn: 

  • The significance of getting verified and how to find the right target markets for your business 
  • How to use ads to expand your business on Facebook 
  • The hidden value of LinkedIn and how to utilize it for sponsorship or brand influencer work 
  • How and when to pay to expand your reach


Linea Broadus

Colby's class was packed with great information for landscape photographers! From writing pitches to marketing with social media, he clearly explains how to achieve personal business goals. Thanks, Colby!

Beatriz Stollnitz

I was fortunate to be in the live audience for this course. If you (and I !!!) take the time to truly absorb the content presented and put it in practice, this course will pay for itself over and over and over. It is rare for someone at Colby's success level to be so open about the financial aspects of what they do, and the details of how they do it. Highly recommended!

Esther Beaton

There were 2 benefits from this course. First was the straight info from Colby - very specific - on how to write cold emails and pitches, how to find prospective clients, where to sell work, etc. Second BIG benefit was his stress on our individual creativity to achieve new revenue in this new age of the photography boom. Oh, and there's a 3rd: use social media; you almost can't go wrong.